Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Orm

What is the orm? It is, at least according to Walter Moers, inspiration. He talks about the orm in his wonderful fantasy novel called The City of Dreaming Books. This is an odd little novel all about books . . . and writing. It is one of those books I picked up on a whim and bought because of the nature of the book and the pages (the feel, the texture) of the book. In his words, the orm is as follows:

You'll understand the instant you sense it. Yes, you can sense it. there are moments when ideas for whole novels rain down on you in seconds. You can sense it when you write some dialogue so brilliant that actors will recite it on stage, word for word, in a thousand years times. Oh yes, you can sense the Orm! It can give you a kick up the backside, transfix you like a shaft of lightning or turn your stomach. It can rip the brain out of your head and reinsert it the other way round! It can sit on your chest in the middle of the night and give you a frightful nightmare - one from which you'll fashion your finest novel. I've sensed the Orm myself - oh yes! - and I wish I could sense it just once more. (p. 406)

That, my friends, is inspiration. Does it happen to me every time I write? Of course not. Have I experienced the full force of the Orm? Yes, once upon a time in a major way, and many times in a minor way. The project which I am currently searching for an agent was written with the aid of the Orm. I wrote the rough draft - 50,000 words - in two weeks. Yes, two weeks. It was an obsession. I took notes at red lights and stop signs. I jotted down notes whenever I could and sent myself dozens of emails. I could think of almost nothing else from the moment I wrote the first paragraph until I wrote the last paragraph. I neglected my partner (12 years at that time) something horribly during those two weeks and lost some weight as well since I would come home from work, sit down at the laptop, and type away. Food - at least for dinner - was not a main priority. So yes, I have experienced the Orm and wish that every writer -at least once if not a hundred times - experiences it as well.


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